There has been a natural evolution toward online as the wave of the future for a lot of stuff that didn’t involve computers in the past.
Remember how you used to listen to music? There was an evolution from vinyl albums to cassettes to compact discs. Now singles and albums can be “dropped”, so to speak, by simply downloading them on your computer. Sure, the hip crowd is embracing vinyl once again, but that’s another story entirely.
Where your grandparents or parents may have read newspapers, you may be reading them as well. You may also get your news online from tablets, laptops, smart phones, and just about any other piece of technology.
Could this online trend extend to college classes? Here is a news flash. It already has. Just look at the nursing programs in Philadelphia or any other city that are available, they are numerous.
It already has.
According to a recent Fox Business article, the number of students taking at least one online class increased for the ninth consecutive year, even as college enrollment dropped 0.2 percent in 2011 for its first decline in 15 years.
“Colleges that fail to focus on supporting, and frankly exceeding, the academic needs and expectations of students will do so at their peril given the increasing number of plausible alternatives emerging,” said Adam Newman, a managing partner at Education Growth Advisors.
That will fit today’s generation quite well. Anyone born in the last 15 years is coming of age having always been around technology of some sort. The World Wide Web became popular in 1994 and 1995, and easy to access Internet followed with dial-up, broadband and wireless internet over the years. Students have increasingly more complex phones that can access applications, go online… and yes, they can even make phone calls and send texts.
Where other generations may have been skittish when it comes to taking classes online, today’s students don’t even think twice. The use of IPads and other tablet devices could help students take class or study material from anywhere. You could study chemistry in a coffee shop, for example. Or you might want to read Steinbeck while munching on a salad.
By taking classes online, students can do other things with their lives. Instead of tying up schedules around class time, you can free up time to put in at a job. You might be able to have a social life. More importantly, by taking online courses you may not even have to set foot on campus unless absolutely needed.
That last step alone has colleges wondering if online is the way to go to help control future growth. Instead of crowding dorms and apartments with students, some of these students could be kept off campus with online classes. This option could open up a window of opportunities for the average full time employee. Taking online classes will allow people the flexibility they need to still work a full 40 hours while obtaining a degree that will help them earn more in their career of choice. This could help you jump from being an administrative assistant with a year or two of experience to a department administrator with an MBA degree. The earning potential for someone with a masters is anywhere from $60 – $100,000 yearly. If that is not a good enough reason to make the sacrifice of how you spend your evenings online, then I don’t know what is.
Of course, not every major is conducive to online classes. There are some things that need to be done in a college setting. Labs might be hard to do with a computer present.
So what classes are good ones to take over a computer? Anything in the accounting or law field has proven popular in the past. Health care classes, especially those dealing with health care administration, easily can be done away from campuses. One could study health care programs at Sanford Brown, which has offices in several states.
The emergence of online classes has given students a viable alternative to stepping on a campus and spending time inside learning from professors.
It has also freed up students from the drudgery of devoting all day to studies. It could change the college experience as we know it for years to come.